Elon Musk Story Part 2 : Challenges and Failures

Today we look at some challenges faced by Elon Musk. Before I begin let me say, Failure as a term is to be used only when someone gives up and say I cannot do it, or this isn’t possible. If they are still working at it and trying to figure out solutions, then they haven’t failed yet. Elon musk truly does not have that many failures because he doesn’t give up.

Truth be told, a lot of entrepreneurs want to be like Elon, they want to be able to emulate his success, grow billion dollar businesses in multiple Industries. But you cannot get that kind of success without taking a few hits along the way. And with Elon, those hits are huge.

What you think is a problem to you, will not even be on the top 1000 list of Elon’s problems, his problems are way bigger and that’s what make him Incredibly successful. For those of you who want to follow in the footsteps of Elon musk, you need to understand one thing, Elon eats failure for breakfast, he’s challenged at lunch and he’s successful by dinner. Elon’s failure cycle is so high that he’s failed rapidly, learned his lessons and back to being successful.

Elon Musk Failures and Challenges

Elon Musk Failures

He wasn’t allowed to become the CEO of the company he started

One of the earliest challenges face by Elon Musk was when the board of directors refused to let him become CEO of the company he started. The board of directors claimed that Elon did not have any operational responsibilities and because of that he couldn’t be the CEO. Another issue they saw, was his inexperience and hence appointed another CEO.

His first-born child died when he was ten weeks old

Elon’s first born baby Nevada died due to a syndrome called the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. His baby was ten weeks old and died because he stopped breathing. Understandably, this created a big impact on him and his wife.

SpaceX had money for three launches, they failed all three times

SpaceX, which is Elon’s rocket making company almost died without launching a single rocket. They had the funding for 3 rocket launches and even if one were successful they could get additional rounds of funding from NASA. They failed all 3 times and the employees were shattered and some were even crying. After the third failure, Elon Musk addressed his entire company and said, “Look. We are going to do this. It’s going to be okay. Don’t Freak out”. He had arranged money from friends from his PayPal days for another launch, they succeeded.

Tesla had delayed their launch for over 4 years

There were reports written about Elon Musk that he would never get his electric car out into the market. Some reporters claimed that he was a big money gambler who played with other people’s money and tried to achieve his childish dreams. A lot of people claimed that Elon Musk would fail terribly because there was no successful car company that was created in the past 50 odd years and also there was no electric car company which had ever succeeded. Elon broke both those notions by launching the Tesla Roadster, an all-electric sports car. Without any sort of marketing Tesla was able to sell thousands of their Roadster. Present day owners of the Tesla include celebrities like Leonardo Di Caprio. 

In 2008, his personal life and professional life took a hit. 

In 2008, the recession hit and put millions out of jobs including financial behemoths. This made a huge impact on SpaceX and Tesla. Elon had a choice to make. Whatever money he had, he could split it and put some in each company and endanger the solvency of both companies or choose one company to put all the money into, that would guarantee the death of one company.

He went through a long and very public divorce from his wife. He was caught in a long drawn court proceeding which dented his personal wealth as well. He also claimed that he almost went into depression at this time. 

But he decided to split the money and keep both companies alive. On Christmas day that year he got a call from NASA who were ready to put in $6 Billion into SpaceX. His decision ended up being right and both the companies survived. He met another girl who was a model and got married to her. 

The story of Elon Musk is a different one, he is built like a machine and he will take head on any challenge even if the odds are insurmountable. You cannot be born with this quality or you cannot be taught, it has to be experienced every single time. The bigger problems you solve in life, the better your life will be.

You can know more about him in his biography.

Elon Musk biography book on Amazon


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